National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said the country's oil company merited closer oversight than other companies and the U.S. is working hard with that enterprise and the Myanmar government to quickly improve its operations.
"We believe that there will be benefits both to the people of Burma and to U.S. investors in allowing U.S. companies, in a careful, calibrated and responsible manner, to engage with MOGE," Vietor said in an email.
Human Rights Watch said the reporting requirements for U.S. investors were useful and innovative but would not erase the risk of companies becoming involved in rights abuses and corruption.
American investment is still forbidden with military-owned companies, and the administration sanctioned the Directorate of Defense Industries, which it said had carried out missile research and development at its facilities in Myanmar, where North Korean experts are active. The administration said in November 2008 that military officials, including the directorate's head, had signed a memorandum of understanding with North Korea to provide assistance to Myanmar to build medium-range, liquid-fueled ballistic missiles, and in the past year, North Korean ships have continued to arrive at Myanmar's ports carrying goods destined for its defense industries.
The U.S. and other governments have repeatedly urged Myanmar to sever its military ties with Pyongyang and to step up its engagement with the International Atomic Energy Agency to allay any lingering concerns it may have sought nuclear weapons, possibly with North Korean help.
The military is also accused of continuing serious human rights abuses, particularly in ethnic minority regions where it is fighting insurgents. And despite releases of hundreds of political prisoners by Thein Sein over the past year, the U.S. government says hundreds more are still detained.
Associated Press writers Matthew Lee and Ben Feller contributed to this report.
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